Nuit St. Georges & Chaux
There is so much to see here in terms of wine that it is overwhelming. I decide to head to Nuit St. Georges. After driving around and getting lost in hillsides full of nothing but vineyards (which I didn't mind), I stopped in the city centre. It was difficult to know a household from a winery and I didn't want to knock on random doors of family homes. I followed a small road - Chaux - up through winding roads and rolling hills of vines as far as you could see. It was incredible. Every so often, a small stone and dirt village would pop up with tiny family wineries. I learned quickly that you had to call ahead to visit. These wineries were made up of four family members, max, and they did the vineyard management, the wine making, the tastings, and the sales. At 4 pm, most of them were out tending the vines and none of them spoke English.
I pulled into a small gravel parking lot next to a barn with a sign reading "Simon & Guy." Just as I did, another car arrived and we got out at the same time. There were three of them, an older couple and a boy about my age. The older, white haired gentlemen said something to me in French.
"Bonjour, tu pal engle?" I asked.
" We are English," he exclaimed with a twinkle and a british accent.
"Oh, thank God," I said with a big sigh of relief and they laughed.
An elderly French woman opened the barn door and led us into the dark room displaying her wines. We tasted a few of them and I was grateful for a French speaking man to direct the conversation. There were no windows inside or indication of the outside world. We rinsed our glasses in between wines from a water spicket in the corner as mice scurried about our feet.
Chris, Christine, & Patrick were their names and they had just come from Provence. They were outrageously tan and, after a week full of cold rain, I was outrageously jealous. Christine had short, silk straight, white hair with silver accents that even more accentuated her tan. Patrick, the father, sported a white hairstyle as well. He was goofy in a way that I liked and he spoke to the woman without offerring me any translation. I didn't understand a thing or know what I was drinking. The son, Chris, seemed about my age and was handsome in an American university sort of way. I wanted to not leave them all day. I envisioned many more wine tastings that day and laughter throughout. They'd take me to dinner and joke about how they wished they could keep me and nudge their son with a wink. We'd part ways with hugs and kisses and promises to keep in touch and never forget one another. But none of that happened. They were headed one way and I, the other.
Patrick bought what they had come for and I asked the woman for the same bottle. Chatting with Christine and her son while the transactions were made, and then they left. I was alone in the barn with no windows and stood in silence with the woman who spoke no English. I handed her my credict card; she charged it and handed me a box of 6 bottles. I looked at the receipt ... 50 euros??
"No, no. One bottle!" I tried to tell her.
She smiled and showed me the door. Crap. I walked to the car with half a case of the same wine and pretended that I meant to purchase it, as I waved to the family backing out of the driveway.